Hamilton Jr. reached Victory...
Hamilton Jr. reached Victory Lane four times last season, and twice in the final five races, including a win at Phoenix.
Harold Holly led Jeff Green and the No. 10 team to the 2000 Busch Championship and later led the team to a pair of Busch wins with driver Scott Riggs. Holly became Hamilton's crewchief in late May of last year and led the team to four victories in the last half of the season, including two in the final five races. Holly and Hamilton hit it off quickly-winning at Kentucky Speedway in their third race together-and continue to communicate extraordinarily well.
"I have a ton of admiration for Bobby and his driving talents," Holly says. "He's somebody I've always wanted to work with, and the stars sort of lined up for us. Bobby's will to win is second to none. I want to do the same thing. I want to build the fastest race car that's possible, and when Bobby tells me what he needs, I try to relate it back to the mechanical or aero side of the car.
"What he tells me over the radio, the attitude of the race car, the spring balance, chassis balance, whatever it might be, I need to get him where he needs to be."
Holly pinpoints Hamilton Jr.'s strengths: "A lot of his strength is confidence, and another is he's young and aggressive and is very, very smart. He's very smart behind the steering wheel and thinks about every move he makes. He has a fantastic attitude and supports the team 150 percent all the time."
Hamilton's attitude and determination, in fact, fit quite well with his team's primary sponsor. "It gives me great pride to know that I am racing for the same folks who are out there 24/7 protecting our country," says Hamilton. "If I can give them a small moment of happiness with a win, it really makes me feel good.
"Every Marine I have ever met has been nothing but first-class to me, and it feels awesome to know those guys are behind me."
You know him as Bobby Hamilton Sr., former Winston Cup driver for Andy Petree, with four wins to his credit. He's now Bobby Hamilton, Craftsman Truck Series driver and owner.
Hamilton Sr. oversees two Truck Series teams in addition to his No. 4 Square D Dodge. And he has four Truck wins on his ledger, two last year. Others in his stable are Chad Chaffin in the No. 18 Dickies Dodge, and Chase Montgomery in a No. 8 companion Dodge co-owned by Ray Montgomery and backed by Gladiator GarageWorks.
But few are aware of the beginnings of Hamilton's conglomerate. In Nextel Cup, there is RCR and DEI. In the Truck Series, there is BHR.
"My company was built for Bobby Jr.," says Senior. "It was a double-edged sword. It was built to where if he didn't get anything we thought would be good for him-while he was starting in Busch-that if he came home I was ready for him, but if he moved on to bigger and better things, then I've got something to do anyhow."
How has he influenced his son, and vice versa? What about the pitfalls of ownership, and has he found happiness in the trucks?
"I don't think I've influenced him that much because he's just a motivated person," Hamilton says. "I think by just being around the business, he's learned what not to do and that's helped him.
"And yeah, he's helped me, I mean just his outlook on different tracks and the way he does things. It's a mutual deal. We're just a punching bag for one another, on and off the racetrack. If he's having a bad day, I'm there, and if I'm having a bad day, he's there."
Hamilton marvels at the relationship between his son and crewchief Harold Holly: "At Atlanta last fall, I saw the car wiggle and I was on the radio. Harold said, 'I feel you dog, I feel you' without Bobby Jr. saying a word. I thought, What the hell does he mean? Then the caution came out, they stopped, and back on the track Holly asked if everything was OK. Bobby simply said, '10-4,' and that was their communication."